In the soft encircling of the night

Where velvet blackness serves for lids

That have no need of closing,

And sense of time and even place

Hang loosely in the quiet space

Where I lie, thoughts reaching out like hands,

To grasp the unity of things...

My place in the continual flow

Of life and thought and feeling,

And I am full aware of the edgelessness of me...

How this night is all nights ever known,

And my thoughts are kin to everything that's been.

That this very 'nowness' of my now

Is just a spreading blur across the face of time,

A blending part of every now not lost as

I touch my tear-dropped cheek and my fingers know

The feel of tears a thousand years gone by

And more.

In my unenclose-ed night I feel the breath of wind

On tear-wet face when locusts ate the wheat,

When husband did not return from war,

When news, given, brought sorrow to an aged heart.

I lift my hands into remembered sunlight,

Feeling warmth of newly-coming spring

When winter went into reluctant thaw,

Revealing tenderness of grass to clothe the land

So the sheep did not lay themselves to die...

And heat unbearable in the desert sand

When way was lost in Sinai in the noon,

Lips cracking under blue just far too blue.

I lie, rocked in the swelling deep of ocean waves,

A speck upon the vastness of all seas;

I hear the snap of canvas in the wind,

The sound of whales singing in the dawn.

I know the brush of hair upon my cheek,

The touch of someone loved beyond compare;

I ache with muscles trembling from the day

Of planting rice beside my mud-squished toes,

Hear the welcome home of my dog's bark

With ears that also heard the trumpets blow

The charge against the castle's guarded walls

And felt the sudden swish of parted air

When arrow sped along the contour of my brow.

I know the sticky feel of brightened blood,

Scented silver as it flows and will not stop,

And that awareness of the coming night

With its hope the moon will rise in time,

Revealing paths now hidden through the trees

So the joy of finding lostnesses will well anew.

I breathe, chest rising, falling now again,

And know the breaths of millions in my lungs,

Each moment real, each breath of lifted chest,

As meaningful, as real as mine.

Sometimes, lying on my bed, it is all there...

All of it...all that once has ever been,

All that will ever be...

A panoply, a quilted work, woven into a single piece

Spread over and around me as I lie.

The reality, the 'presentness' of moments come

But not yet...gone,

Not gone because I know and feel them

In the air, all around me, all the times,

All the loves, all the living moments

Of each life that ever was or will be lived,

All the senses of their expectations,

All the long and weary waits,

All the fallings in and out of love,

The babies born, the young men dead in war,

The sight of land when months were spent at sea,

The sight of her come home, at last, again.

The squint when sunlight was too bright,

The laying of a loved one in the grave

And going home alone to sit and mourn.

All of it is there, each single moment of each single life,

Existing, real, in the air around me as I lie

Awake in the lilac-scented night

And see the fullness of the glowing moon

Seen by every single one who's ever looked,

And we see it, smiling, they and I.

I hear that certain metallic scrape of sword,

The sizzle of bacon in the iron pan,

And know the sudden lurch of gut

When foot has slipped upon some mountain height.

The taste of chocolate on my hungry lip,

The gentleness of sleeping after pain,

The thatch-leak that drips upon the hearth

Just in the place the cat prefers to lie,

The tilt of chin when pride has suffered blows,

The fear when riders come, approaching in the dark.

All the sights, all the sounds, all the feelings, always,

Never lost, not unremarked, not worthless

In the sum of things

For every tired flex of hand upon some well-worn hoe,

Every fear of loss, each glad-greeted hug,

Each wipe of sweat from every sunshined brow,

All times that baby cries have creased the night,

Each ring of every single chiming bell,

Flows about me in the ever-living now,

So I can feel all feelings ever felt,

And hear the singing notes of songs not writ,

Can see the ship arriving at the shore,

And know the racing rumble of a thousand hoofs

And none of it is past, none still yet to come,

But all in all is always, ever,

In some mystery never-told,

Where now is always, ever, now,

Where all the breathing, living moments

Wrap themselves about me

And are mine.




Jo Anzalone 1-22-2007